Trees and shrus

How Old? An Old Elm in South Minneapolis

A reader contacted me recently about her very old (and very beautiful) American elm tree. The tree, she noted, had a circumference of 17 feet and was believed by some in the neighborhood to be about 240 years old. Would I like to take pictures of it? You bet! The homeowner told me she was…

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Why Aren’t the Ginkgo Leaves Yellow This Year?

Ginkgo trees can be stunning in fall. The broad, fan-shaped ginkgo leaves turn a brilliant yellow that is particularly striking at sunrise and sunset. Then, the leaves all drop quickly — sometimes in one day — and the show is over. Something different is happening this year — the leaves are dropping and many are…

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Planting in Summer? Rough Up Those Roots!

While most gardeners like to plant in spring or fall, you can find lots of deals on perennials, shrubs and even trees during the time from mid-June to September. But planting in summer works, too. As long as you are careful to water, most plants will do just fine if planted in mid-summer. But here’s…

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Best Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

According to the color watchers in Minnesota, this week marks the peak of fall color in central and southern Minnesota. Most of northern Minnesota is past peak already. Maples, birches and other northern-hardy trees along with many deciduous shrubs are lighting up yards and roadways around the state with their last blast of color before…

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Plant Profile: Redbud Tree

Don’t let today’s cold and rain bother you. It won’t be long before we’ll be seeing the soft pink clouds of bloom that surround the Minnesota-hardy redbuds that are so popular here in the North. Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a smallish ornamental tree (or large shrub) that can be shaped either on a single stem…

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Plant Profile: Magic Magnolias

Magnolias are wonderful small trees or shrubs, which despite their southern connections, can work as spring-flowering plants for gardens in USDA Zone 4 — about the southern half of Minnesota, as well as areas along Lake Superior. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has a fine collection of magnolias and they are blooming right now. Magnolias for…

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Slash and Plant Shrubs

Early spring is a great time to plant new shrubs and perennials, and if you check your local nursery, you may even find some bargains. Shrubs that have been in their pots all winter are ready to go in the ground, but they need a little slashing before you plant them. Why? Most plants that…

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Garden Trend: Trees that Look Like Taylor Swift

‘Tis the season for horticulture days, spring flings and assorted other garden events. Saturday I had a chance to attend the District 7 Spring Fling, where Northern Gardener horticulture editor Debbie Lonnee discussed some of the new plants that will be introduced this year and over the next few years. (You can read Debbie’s picks…

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Plant Profile: Viburnum

Viburnum is a lovely group of shrubs year-round, but my appreciation for them always soars in fall. That’s when the bright red berries of American highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) shine on the bush in my backyard. The genus Viburnum includes about 150 species of shrubs and small trees. Many of them are very hardy and…

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Crabapple Season

This past week seemed to be crabapple season in Minnesota. All of a sudden — as happens most year — the crabapple trees, aka, flowering crabs, burst into bloom. Pinks, deep maroons, whites — the colors exploded on city boulevards, a clear signal that winter has truly retreated and summer cannot be far off. Crabapple…

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